My wife and I argue. I am positive that that statement rings true for almost everyone who is in a relationship. We argue mostly over finances, the subject is a conflict of seriousness —again, a statement that almost all married people can agree on. Usually bred in fear, the fear becomes anger, the anger turns to depression, the depression leads to more fear and so the viciousness of the cycle goes round and round. The machine of sin and wickedness turns in our lives. We do love each other, but the enemy of our souls embeds himself into our lives and his claws dig in deep and truly the worst part is — we allow it. We allow the enemy to take root and hold on.
I do try, only speaking for myself, to get along with my wife. I try to be encouraging, and to inspire, to be loving and kind. I also try to be humble — wait a minute — that is where I find my problem. Humility? Am I humble? By definition, humility is the act of not thinking of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. Put someone else above you, being respectful and being modest with selflessness. Do I imbue this quality? Do I have this trait that our Lord has, am I like Christ. I have often said that I have humility and that I am very proud of that fact! Wait a minute! OK, I know the truth and the irony of what I just wrote, but I do have to laugh at myself.
I have lived a life that had been full of arguments, arguments with my parents as I grew up, with my friends and colleagues, with my wife and my children. Arguments have been an imbedded portion of my life. My very nature is that of war. I have often said that I am a man of peace that is meant for war — and truly that is my life. I love the writing about spiritual warfare, reading about it — I live to fight. For as long as I can remember I have argued with someone and I ask myself the simple question of — why?
I often speak to a spiritual father of mine, a guide in my life. One day I told him that I always try to be humble to which he retorted — no you don’t. You are not humble at all and neither am I.
He then proceeded to ask me: When you are confronted about something what is the first thing you do?
I quickly replied: I defend myself. After all, if I am right, I am…Wait a minute!
He then plainly asked me, what did Jesus do when He was confronted by those who wanted Him dead?
Jesus stood by and did not defend Himself, He did not have to. He did not get angry, He did not argue. He was and is like Christ. He led by example even when they led Him to His crucifixion, He was silent and said nothing. He did not have to. He knew who He was and He knew that His Father was with Him. And, the one thing I have learned is that even though I strive to be like Jesus — I am obviously not one bit humble. Sometimes I am silent, but underneath I am angry, bitter and/or depressed.
It is very hard to humble yourself when you are confronted by negative statements by strangers, however, when someone you love tells you that you have failed and is very negative toward you instinctually, by logic and anger I defend myself. I confront the darkness with darkness and I end submerging myself into the hands of the devil. I fall headlong into the deceptive trap that I have fallen into numerous times before. Why should I defend myself when I have my Holy Attorney, Christ my Defender, my Rock and my Shield on my side?
But, we often find ourselves with our backs against the wall and we feel that we have to prove ourselves against, not only the person who brings the accusation, but against the enemy himself. Usually the person who filled with fear, doubt and anger is not aware that the spiritual realms are attacking. The temptation is there, they doubt, fight and struggle with the fact of speaking the evil they should not speak, but then again they fall into the trap — pride settles in and when both parties lack the humility and restraint — arguments and accusations fly. Both individuals are on the offensive by defending themselves. Does the previous sentence make any sort of sense? In the normal sense it does not, but anyone who has ever argued with a spouse or loved one can attest to what I am saying.
So, how do we beat the enemy on his own ground — this world? How do we fend off the satanic attacks, the fiery darts of the wicked?
If we fight with the weapons of the world (anger, lust, doubt, fear) we will fail — but, if we use our divine weapons (the sword of the spirit, the shield of faith the gospel of peace, the belt of truth, the helmet of salvation) we will be victorious. That is what the Armor of God is for. But, along with the armor I would dare add another piece of armor — the veil of humility.
I use the word veil as something that can be seen through. I do not use the word mask because a mask is something one can hide behind. Wearing the veil of humility is as Saint Paul wrote putting on Christ. He writes about the Armor of God, but also an armor of light. We are to reflect Christ in our lives and when we argue we reflect hell itself. Conflict is never godly. It is true that some families can argue and they stay close but it is an extreme exception to the rule, and even then when arguments happen they should not. When I fought with my parents when I was young, if I would have followed the fifth commandment as God instructed I would have been the man of humility I needed to be, but I fell into the trap of the world as I often did, and do still and I fail.
Satan owns this world. We constantly fight to find happiness when the only true happiness is with Christ. We look for comfort in financial stability, in sex, food, drugs, which is all readily available if we are willing to serve the world, but often the closer we get to Christ we are bombarded with choices that cause us to fall under the sway of temptation. Why are those who we consider saints considered saints? They give up everything; they renounce all things of this world for Christ and they did not serve the world or their own selfish ambitions even until it cost them their lives. They lived exemplarily lives, still filled with sin and temptation as all other people, but strived for more. So much more that others saw them as saints. They served Christ in humility and love. They served Him and lived in Him.
The world often wants to punish those that are loving and choose to serve Christ even when it means ridicule and strife. It is hard when the world tells you that you are worthless, stupid or a loser not to say something in your own defense. And, it is even harder when people degrade you and punish you to look at them and say: I love you and forgive you without defending yourself.
That is what Jesus did when He was accused, beaten, spat upon, insulted and ultimately put to death. He did not exact revenge or pull Himself off the cross to defend Himself. He did not say: you humans are not worth it. Why should I die for those who do not love me? He could have called legions of angels to come to His aid, but with all humility and love He gave Himself up for what He taught and believed. He prayed for those who did the horrific act to have mercy and forgiveness as He hung dying on the cross. He hung naked, scarred and broken for all of us foolish and selfish people. He looked across the vastness of time at all who ever lived and would live and said a most definite — I love you.